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The Ultimate Hawaiian Shirt By Sig Zane

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There are only two places in the world you can buy a Sig Zane design, the Sheraton Kona and his signature store in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Since before he opened his store in 1985 Sig Zane has transformed images of the plants and culture of Hawaiians into wearable art. 30 years later you don’t ask someone if they are wearing a Hawaiian shirt, you ask is that a Sig Zane? 

Sig Zane Designs

I had been tempted to buy a Sig Zane shirt while I was staying at the Sheraton Kona. His art hangs in each room; the staff shirts are designed by him, and even the paddles in the lobby have his design on them. Everything is gorgeous, and I want one, but I know that I will spend my last hours on the Big Island in Hilo where his shop is so I decide to hold off until I then.

Hawaiian Paddles in the Sheraton Kona foyer

Inside his store, I am overwhelmed with options.

Inside Sig Zane Designs

I came looking for a shirt, but he offers so much more. T-shirts, board shorts, pot holders, rugs and reusable shopping bags all with Sig Zane Designs decorating them.

Sig Zane pot holder

Sig Zane rugs

Sig Zane shopping bag and change purse

Ok, I need to focus and get down to picking out my shirt. Lucky for me everything is arranged by size. Once I’ve figured out what size fits me best, I can look over the entire section knowing that everything will fit me. There are lots of choices, but I only need one.

A wall of Men's shirts

I was immediately drawn to a blue shirt with a big bold Hibiscus pattern, but unfortunately, it only comes as a pullover which doesn’t work for me. Instead, I choose a bright green linen shirt with a seaweed pattern. I love the colour, the subtlety of the design and the versatility of places I feel I can wear it. Below I am wearing it out for a nice dinner in Hana on Maui.

Me in my Sig Zane Hawaiian shirt

Don’t worry ladies there are plenty of options for you as well. In fact, there are way more dress options than there are shirt options for men. I asked the staff which dress is the most popular style, and they pulled out this little number. It hangs loose and easy and has pockets. Trust me it is more flattering on a real person than this hanger.

Sig Zane pocket dress

If you are looking to add a little Hawaiian to your wardrobe then you must start with Sig Zane, all others are just copies. If you can’t make it into his store, you can purchase them online through his e-store, and they can ship it to you.

Sig Zane is a fisherman, surfer, dancer, artist and cultural practitioner. You’ll see these elements in every Sig Zane Design. A native of O’ahu, he moved to Hilo seeking an unhurried life and became a student of Hawaiian culture in the mid-1970′s. He joined Hilo’s Halau O Kekuhi in 1981, and his immersion in hula formed the core of his understanding of the plants of Hawai’i and their uses in Hawaiian culture. Under teachers Edith Kanaka’ole and her daughters, Nalani Kanaka’ole and Pua Kanahele, he learned that hula and the natural world are inseparable.


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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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